Dear Madam/Sir

It is a scandal that Germany has not ratified the UNCAC and the government must propose its own proposal and not longer wait for other proposals.

Access to information is a human right according to Art. 19 ICCPR Germany has reservations here.

Does the German delegation recognize, that Germany can not continue to violate the human right of access to information in 5 federal states with half of the population? (see 124.28 og 124.42)


123.22: Ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC);

123.28: Withdraw all reservations to human rights instruments to which Germany is a party, first of all, to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

123.42: Align its national legislation with international human rights standards

Response to recommendations:

124.22: "Accepted. Before ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption, an adaptation of the legislation regarding the criminal offence of bribery of members of parliament is needed. A corresponding draft legislative bill should be submitted by members of the German Bundestag."

124.28: (Withdraw all reservations e. g. ICCPR") "Accepted. Legal regulations and their implementation already comply with international standards and norms."

124.42: "Accepted."

Walter Keim, 19. September 2013

Subject: Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 25 April 2013
From: Walter Keim <>
Date: 16/04/2013 10:20
CC: Kjeld Aakjaer Baltic Sea NGO Forum

Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors,
must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular
information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both.

-- James Madison

Permanent Mission of the United States of America to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
Route de Pregny 11
CH-1292 Chambésy
Tel: +41 22 749 41 11

Subject: UPR meeting 25 April 2013

Dear Madam/Sir

The US Freedom of Information (FOI) Law 1966 was the second law of this kind in the world. President Barack Obama signed on his first day in office an Initiative on Transparency, signalling the fundamental importance of open government in a democracy. President Obama also initiated the international Open Government Partnership, followed by 60 states.

Now 120 states with 5.9 billion inhabitants i.e. 84 % of the worlds population adopted FOI laws or constitutional provisions. However the Baltic Sea NGO Forum found that 5 federal states (half of the population) lack Freedom of Information laws. Unfortunately the federal FOI law in Germany does not follow international standards of openness, reasonable costs and fast response i. e. 89 states with 5.5 billion have FOI laws more citizen friendly.

However both national authorities and NGOs, regional ( EU, CoE, OSCE ) and global mechanisms (CCPR, OHCHR) did not support access to information and anticorruption in Germany.

Could the US Mission follow up President Obamas commitment in the UPR meeting 25 April 2013 and propose that German federal states adopt Freedom of Information laws? Unfortunately OHCHR did nor publish the Baltic Sea NGO Forum submission:

Access to documents of public administration is a human right according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [1, 4, 5] and jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) [6] on the basis of the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR) [2] and is seen as a precondition for democracy and important in the fight of corruption. OSCE supports access to information [7].

There are 269 hits (Accessed January 2013) on "Access to Information" in the database e. g. freedom of information laws are mentioned for Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, France, Kenya, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan and the REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI (submitted by ARTICLE 19). UNESCO has recommended Freedom of Information laws to all states reviewed during the 16. UPR session. Austria recommended to Bahrain (A/HRC/WG.6/13/L.4): "Enact a progressive, substantive Freedom of Information law". Djibouti and Ghana got same suggestion.

Germany invited civil society to discuss the report. Since I am in Norway, I applied for access of the draft report, which was discussed. However after waiting 3 month I did not yet get the report. I see that the contribution of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum has been ignored, but due to the 3 month time to decide on the application I can not see the influence of other civil society contributions.

The USA is one of the troika states of this UPR review of Germany [8].

Sincerely for Baltic Sea NGO Forum
Walter Keim
Access to Information Baltic Sea NGO Forum:
UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR):
Will CoE Support the Human Right of Access to Information
in Germany?
Is it possible to enforce access to information in Bavaria?

  1. Access to information is a human right according to UN:
  2. Access to information in ECHR:
  3. 2004 Joint Declaration by the Three Special Mandates for Protecting Freedom of Expression:
  4. "General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the ICCPR":
  5. Complains to UN Human Rights Committee:
  6. Jurisdiction European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR):
  7. OSCE, April 2012: COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT LAW ON TRANSPARENCY, ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND GOOD GOVERNANCE OF SPAIN: "International documents (...) state that access to information is a fundamental human right and an essential condition for all democratic societies."
  8. Universal Periodic Review (UPR):
PS: 29.April 2013: Many delegations complaint about the Youth Office (Jugendamt)


Report of the Working Group on the UPR: A/HRC/WG.6/16/L.7 [relation to Baltic Sea NGO Forum suggestion No. in brackets]:
II. Conclusions and/or recommendations
123. Responses to the following recommendations will be provided by Germany in due time, but no later than the 24th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2013: Answer of the German Government 11. September 2013: Germany is accepting: but what will be done? Conclusion: Germany accepts, but will do nothing, basically because of the pretension that "standards are high enough".

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